The Butcher | Baby Boy, Baby Girl explores the world of sugar babies and the great chemistry between its stars Marco Gumabao and Kylie Verzosa

Kylie Verzosa makes the part look so easy to portray. It is the very reason why the film is entertaining. Why, she even attempts to do some comedy and succeeds. Marco Gumabao isn’t bad either. He is actually great in this scene with Yayo Aguila, who plays his mother in the story. He doesn’t allow himself one bit to be eclipsed by Yayo in that ultra-dramatic moment.

Photos: Viva Films

Kylie Verzosa makes the part look so easy to portray. It is the very reason why the film is entertaining. Why, she even attempts to do some comedy and succeeds. Marco Gumabao isn’t bad either. He is actually great in this scene with Yayo Aguila, who plays his mother in the story. He doesn’t allow himself one bit to be eclipsed by Yayo in that ultra-dramatic moment.

Genetic lottery pretty much defines a person’s looks – good or bad. Blessed are those with the best features for they have it easier in life.

In some cultures in ancient China – still called Cathay then – men typically had two wives who lived in the same house. The first one was lovely with tiny feet. Her function was “for display purposes only.”    

Wife No. 2 was always plain (and that’s the kindest word to describe her). Her task was to do all the house chores. At times, she even worked the fields.     

Even in the modern world, it is the better-looking one that gets favored. Those pretty little things need not do back-breaking work. All they have to do is be charming.     

Of course, there are those who use their bodies in exchange for favors. That is a universal practice. Prostitution, after all, is the oldest profession.     

In the Philippines, the followers of the hit TV series Maria Clara at Ibarra  were introduced to the term mujeres libres, which translated to street walker during the Spanish period. That was an odd euphemism considering that they were paid women who didn’t go around giving their services for free.     

But as they say in the flesh trade, one doesn’t have to go “all the way” to be able to charge a fee. In Manila before the war, there were dance halls – with the Santa Ana Cabaret being the largest in the world. In these cabarets – or kabaret in local parlance – there were bailarinas who slow-dragged with customers for a token amount per dance. It was the tip that mattered in the end.     

Or sometimes, they got “tabled.” If ever they went out with clients, that was already their call.     

The practice has stayed on almost a century later. But the practitioners had undergone various labels: Hostess, hospitality girl, GRO, etc.     

Apparently, there is a new term for good-looking people who lend their company for a fee. They are now called sugar babies, who do sugar-dating. Wasn’t this trade previously called escort service? Obviously, they sugar-coated it this time around.     

This is the theme of Jason Paul Laxamana’s newest film, which is currently showing in movie theaters. The title is Baby Boy, Baby Girl and stars Kylie Verzosa and Marco Gumabao.

Produced by Viva Entertainment, Baby Boy explores what goes on in this profession designed apparently for good-looking people of both sexes. So how did the members of the millennial and Gen Z groups update the practice? Everything had become even more materialistic.     

In the nightclubs of old, hostesses usually had to endure the shame of working in such establishments to stave off hunger. They were always breadwinners.     

And they insisted that it was hard work. As Rosa Rosal’s character famously said in the now-classic Anak-Dalita where she played a bailarina: “We also wear our shoes out!”     

In contrast to simpler times when illicit work was mostly for survival, the sugar babies these days go for wants, rather than needs. But then, we now live in a very materialistic world where one has to have the latest iPhone and gadget  that technology offers.     

The sugar baby character played by Marco Gumabao, at least, is commendable. Sure, he likes nice things like clothes and other material items. But at the same time, he also appreciates sponsored seminars on entrepreneurship and even public speaking. Anything that would improve his well-being.     

Even more praiseworthy is this other character in the film who tries not to take advantage of his client. He goes out with her because he truly enjoys her company.

Of course, Baby Boy, Baby Girl is more than just a peek into the world of sugar babies. It is also a love story that goes through the tests of time and trials.     

In the movie, Marco starts out as a cleaner in a janitorial service. One of his clients turns out to be Kylie who hires him to clean up after her in her personalized pillow business.     

They fall in love, but break up when Marco is tempted to go on a trip with some matron. Soon, Kylie also becomes financially-challenged and she, too, gets on board – with the help of her ex, Marco.     

As expected, their romance is rekindled. But how does one stay in a relationship if both parties are involved in this kind of livelihood?     

There are lessons in life the young may learn from Baby Boy, Baby Girl. The best thing about the film is that it doesn’t attempt to be preachy.     

Shot in eight days, there is nothing grand about Baby Boy. This picture, however, can be quite charming.    

It helps that the two lead stars are stunners. Kylie Verzosa, after all, was Miss International. From Marco’s end, he benefits from the genes of his handsome father, Dennis Roldan.

The two look very good together, especially since both are very tall. And what  great chemistry they have on screen.     

It should also be noted that Kylie is a good actress. She was impressive in the supporting role of a ghost in Love the Way U Lie. Her most demanding role was in The Housemaid where she was able to hold her own against Jaclyn Jose.     

Baby Boy, Baby Girl is a walk in the park for her. It is a piece of cake – or perhaps a spoonful of leche flan, which she makes in the movie after her personalized pillow business fails.    

That she makes the part look so easy to portray is the very reason why the film is entertaining. Why, she even attempts to do some comedy and succeeds.     

Marco isn’t bad either. He is actually great in this scene with Yayo Aguila, who plays his mother in the story. Well, the fact that Yayo does well no longer comes as a surprise. She is already an Urian winner, after all.     

But Marco doesn’t allow himself one bit to be eclipsed by Yayo in that ultra-dramatic moment. He levels up his performance and his acting is quite impressive here.    

Marco, however, is always at his best in scenes shared with Kylie. They make a gorgeous pair. The two are also perfect for the parts they play given their extraordinary good looks.

The film, however, is careful not to send the wrong message by promoting sugar dating as the best option to secure one’s future. Very subtly, the movie suggests that even the best-looking baby boy and baby girl will one day be wrinkled grandpa and grandma.

 

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